Uttar Pradesh's best opportunity to score their first outright win of the season, might just come when they take on Maharashtra on Sunday.
The Green Park pitch appears a good batting track and that’s a cause of worry for UP as Maharashtra’s batsmen have done well with the willow in their two matches, managing four points so far. But, the advantage UP have is the return of key players in the fold. Dropped from the Indian team, R.P. Singh will lead the bowling attack along with Praveen Kumar, who has recovered from injury, supporting him, while young seamer Bhuvaneshwar Kumar will bowl first change.
Much will also depend on leggie Piyush Chawla and orthodox bowler Praveen Gupta as there should be assistance for the spinners. “For the first time in the season, we have our almost full strength and we would love to exploit the conditions here,” said UP coach Gyanendra Pandey.
Skipper Kaif, who missed the match against Tamil Nadu with fever, also sounded keen to score an outright win. “A win here is a must for us and we should not lose the opportunity here,” said Kaif.
Maharashtra have a strong batting line-up with right-hander Ameya Shrikhande leading the runs chart (306 in two matches) while Kedar Jadhav, Harshad Khadwale, Roshan Bhosale and skipper Nikhil Paradhkar are also in good nick. “We are going to play against a strong side but that doesn’t make a difference to us,” he said.
UP: M. Kaif (capt.), P. Chawla, R.P. Singh, T. Srivastava, S. Shukla, B. Kumar, M.A. Khan, R. Shukla, P. Singh, P. Gupta, I. Ahmed, S. Tyagi, A. Yadav.
Maharashtra: N. Paradkar (capt.), A. Shrikhande, S.D. Alitkar, E. Haque (jr), K. Jadhav, R. Bhosale, A. Bawne, A. Dole, S. Fallah, H. Khadiwale, V. More, J. Patil, D. Shilamkar, R. Motwani, W. Sayyed, D. Waghmare.